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Over 1 million contraband cigarettes seized in Edmonton

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2 minute read

From Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC)

Multiple contraband tobacco products seized by AGLC investigators

More than 1 million contraband cigarettes with a value of more than $665,000 were recently seized following an investigation by Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC).

The total potential lost tax revenue is estimated to be more than $292,000.

The seizure took place at a storage facility in central Edmonton. Jian Wang of Edmonton was charged with trafficking in contraband tobacco contrary to section 121.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The accused is scheduled to appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on February 17, 2021.

Contraband tobacco:

  • is any tobacco product that does not comply with federal and provincial laws related to importation, marking, manufacturing, stamping and payment of duties and taxes;
  • comes from four main sources: illegal manufacturers, counterfeits, tax-exempt diversions and resale of stolen legal tobacco; and
  • can be recognized by the absence of a red (Alberta) or peach/light tan (Canada) stamp bearing the “DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ” on packages of cigarettes and cigars or pouches of tobacco.

In addition to lost revenues that may otherwise benefit Albertans, illegally manufactured products also pose public health and safety risks as they lack regulatory controls and inspections oversight.

All wholesalers and importers of tobacco into Alberta must be licensed to sell or import tobacco for resale. Furthermore, all tobacco products must be labelled according to federal and provincial regulations. Albertans who suspect illegal tobacco production, packaging and/or trafficking are encouraged to contact AGLC’s Tobacco Enforcement Unit at 1-800-577-2522.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, AGLC enforces the Tobacco Tax Act and conducts criminal investigations of contraband smuggling. In 2019-20, provincial revenue from tobacco taxes was $805 million.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Crime

More than $4M in illegal drugs seized during EDGE investigation

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News release from Edmonton Police Service

A nine month EPS investigation has culminated with the arrest of four males and the seizure of an estimated $4.3M in drugs and buffing agents.

“This investigation and the corresponding results are the culmination of nine months of commitment by our members to keep a significant amount of illegal drugs off Edmonton streets,” said Staff Sgt. David Paton, of the Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Unit (EDGE). “The continued reduction of harm to our community is our number-one objective.”

Responding to intelligence received in the spring of 2021, the EPS Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Unit (EDGE) began investigating several individuals allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade throughout the city.

Working in conjunction with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), EDGE members successfully arranged several undercover drug buys with four suspects over the last six months.

In October, investigators identified two addresses of interest; the first being the residence of the primary suspect, David Vidal, 31, near 208 Street and 61 Avenue with the second being an alleged drug stash pad on Secord Boulevard.

Police seized significant amounts of drugs and weapons at the culmination of this investigation including:

  • Methamphetamine – 5,784.5 g (est. street value of more than $206,000)
  • Cocaine – 11,374 g(est. street value of more than $607,000)
  • Other drugs – 4,591 tablets (cocaine or Fentanyl-based); 25.7 g Ketamine (est. street value $1,028)
  • Buffering agent – 897.85 kg (est. street value $3,500,000.00)
  • Firearms & ammunition – 12 gauge shotgun, .300 win mag rifle, 800 rounds of ammo
  • Other weapons: 2 tasers, brass knuckles, 2 butterfly knives, 2 sets of brass knuckles
  • Cash: Approximately $21,000
  • Vehicle: 2018 Kia Sorrento

Investigators have since arrested and charged:

David Vidal, 31, of Edmonton: 19 offences including drug trafficking and possession, firearms and weapon-related offences, child endangerment, proceeds of crime and resisting arrest.

Nathaniel Cloney, 39, of Edmonton: 6 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime.

Matthew Lunty, 33, of Edmonton: 6 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime.

Abraham Chavez, 37, of El Salvador: 4 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime; a warrant for his arrest has also been issued.

Anyone with any information about this or any other crime is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Crime

Can you help RCMP identify this suspect?

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News Release from Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect

Red Deer RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to help identify a suspect involved in an assault and robbery this past July.

On July 11, 2021 at approximately 7:30 a.m., a male arrived at the McDonalds located at 2502-50 Ave on a bicycle. The individual approached the occupant sitting inside of a parked 2012 Chevrolet Silverado and stole the vehicle. Around 8:40 a.m. that same morning, the suspect drove the stolen vehicle to a Fas Gas at 5926-54 Ave where he attempted a robbery. The suspect confronted a gas station employee and an altercation occurred, and the suspect fled in the stolen vehicle. Police later recovered the vehicle that day.

Red Deer RCMP are releasing images of the suspect so that the public might aid in identifying this individual. The suspect is described as a male wearing a blue hoodie, backpack with bright neon green straps, and camouflage cargo pants.

If you have information on these incidents or witnessed suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, please contact the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575 or your local police department. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), on line at www.p3tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play store.

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